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Why discover Ganvié AND Lake Nokoué

A captivating journey into the heart of Benin's nature and traditions , this charming lake with an area of approximately 339 ha offers a captivating experience for nature lovers. Lake Nokoué was designated a Ramsar site in 1990 because of its rich biodiversity . It is home to over 170 species of fish, including many important commercial species and is also an important habitat for waterfowl. With its picturesque landscapes, clear waters and rich fauna, Lake Nokoué is a true treasure to discover. Take a boat trip to admire the stunning sunrises that paint the sky in vibrant colors and reveal the true magic of the lake. Ornithology enthusiasts will be delighted by the diversity of bird species that inhabit the surroundings of the lake. You will also be able to meet local fishermen who skillfully navigate their traditional

 canoes and who will help you discover their ancestral fishing techniques , you will be able to attend traditional dances or ceremonies. To discover Visit Ganvié and the lakeside villages, inhabited by 30,000 people and Lake Nokoué which is located about twenty minutes from Cotonou., we offer different circuits in motorized canoe accompanied by a guide who will introduce you to the fauna, flora , fishing techniques, history and traditional life of the inhabitants.

The history of Lake Ganvié

According to legend, the origin of Ganvié is linked to the tribal wars and slave raids of the 17th century. The first inhabitants arrived from Togo with their king Agbogdobé in 1717. The powerful king in Vaudoun, metamorphosed into a hawk, flew over the lagoon and discovered the island of Ganvié. His subjects who remained on the shore could not pass. He then did another magic that transformed him into a crocodile, thus carrying his subjects on his back. Since the crocodile is sacred in Ganvié!

More recently, the creation of the communes of Sô-Ava and Aguégués is the result of a migratory movement of populations which led to the settlement of the southern region of the current Republic of Benin. These include the migration of Dakomènou and Sokomènou who at more or less frequent intervals have taken up residence on Lake Nokoué and its surroundings.

The particularity of life on Lake Nokoué is "construction on stilts". Dwellings on stilts entirely built in natural material (wood, bamboo, straw, various plants) which are capable of withstanding bad weather and climatic hazards for decades.

Today Lake Ganvié is the most important lakeside city in West Africa and has been on the UNESCO tentative list since 1996. This city is a unique tourist curiosity in Africa, even in the world. Here, all the life of the population takes place on water and revolves around water.

How to visit the tourist site of Ganvié by motorized canoe

The visit to Lac Nokoué can be done for a day as part of one of our excursions, however if you want to immerse yourself in life on the lake, we suggest you stay there for two days.

Visit Ganvié and the fishing villages

Duration: 6 hours

From So-Ava you will visit the different fishing villages of !ac Nokoué, Sô Ava, vekky, houédo gbadji, houé aguéko, Sô zounko, Sô tchanhoué, and Ganvié. During this day on Lake Nokoué, you will discover the activity of fishermen, introduce you to throwing a fishing net, you will discover the technique

the lakeside village of Ganvié

fish parks (acadja), the trade of women who buy fish , the traditions of the population called the Men of Water in the local language “Toffinou”., the sacred forest, the miraculous tree, and at sô tchanhoué you will be able to meet the king, and observe the exit of the ghosts. These ghosts are believed to be the spirits of people who drowned in the lake. They are often described as translucent silhouettes or wispy shapes.


You can head towards the Ouémé river and the commune of Aguégués and disembark at the port of Porto-Novo and continue your visit to Porto-Novo and Adjarra.

The price includes the rental of the canoe, the guide in addition, the picnic, the meeting with the King, the exit of the ghosts

The bird canal

Duration: 4 hours

The Canal des Oiseaux du Lac Nokoué is a natural canal which crosses the mangrove forest of Lake Nokoué , it is a favorite place to observe a wide variety of birds, of which more than 200 species have been recorded , but also it is an important habitat for reptiles, amphibians and fish.

Lake Nokoué, the bird canal

Your guide Boniface, passionate about ornithology, will take you on a motorized canoe to discover the channel of morning fishermen, the roost of night herons and other species for enthusiasts, then you will visit the village of Gbessou and its colonial vertigo, the work of women fish smokers. , the Houedo Gbadji village on stilts, the fish parks, the cast net fishing technique, you finish the tourist circuit with the So tchanhoue village, before reaching the So Ava pier.

The sacred river and the monkey forest

Duration: 7 hours –

You will sail on the Sô River, a peaceful waterway bordered by picturesque villages of ahomey de gblon, hounmey lokpo, zoungomey, kinto and green fields. The river is considered sacred by the Fon people , one of Benin's majority ethnic groups. It is said that the divinity Sô lives there and that its waters have powers of purification .

The sacred river, Lake Nokoué BENIN

you will continue your navigation, you will arrive at the sacred forest, a protected place where nature is revered. The forest is home to a wide variety of trees, plants and animals, some of which are considered sacred. You will have the opportunity to walk in the forest and admire its beauty and serenity and perhaps observe the monkeys in Togbota.

This excursion includes the price of the motorized canoe, the accompanying guide, On request organization of a traditional ceremony  

The sunrise

Duration: 4 hours

The sunrise over Lake Nokoué is an unforgettable spectacle. Lake Nokoué is located in southern Benin, near the equator, sunrise occurs all year round around 6:45 a.m. with little seasonal variation. As the sun .

Lake Nokoué in BENIN

begins to rise on the horizon, the sky ablaze with shades of pink, orange and purple. These colors reflect on the calm surface of the lake, creating a truly magical scene. Birds begin to sing and fly from their nests in the surrounding mangroves, adding to the peaceful atmosphere of the moment.

Departure by canoe from the So Ava pier at 6:15 a.m. and discover the sunrise over Lake Nokoué and the awakening of activity, notably the floating market on Lake Ganvié.

Stay in Ganvié, the lakeside village of Lake Nokoué

If you want to immerse yourself in the atmosphere and life of the inhabitants of Ganvié, we suggest you stay there, either in a hotel or with a local.

In particular, you will have the opportunity to discover the floating fishermen's market from 4 a.m. at sunrise, and if you wish, attend a traditional dance show, in particular the Sakpata dance , an important divinity in the traditional religion of the Fon. Sakpata dance is generally associated with the earth and its powers of fertility, but also with illness and healing.

danse Sakpata.webp
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